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Mark Rogovin

September 30, 2019
Mark Rogovin
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Obituary for Mark Rogovin

Mark was born in Buffalo, New York, the second of three children born to Anne and Milton Rogovin. Sandwiched between two sisters, Paula and Ellen, Mark became a loyal protector of those he loved from an early age. His fierce love for his family, and his wife and partner Michelle — for 26 years— never waned.
Mark Rogovin received a BFA degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1968.
Rogovin was an assistant to Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros on his last mural, the March of Humanity. From Mexico, he enrolled in graduate school at the Art Institute of Chicago. He worked for Urban Gateways for nine years.
A Chicago resident for more than 50 years, Mark brought his artistic vision to the west side of Chicago, when in 1972 he founded the Public Art Workshop, a community art, and mural center and co-authored the book, Mural Manual. To this day, the young men and women who made the Public Art Workshop home – learning photography, mural painting, and other visual arts are still a part of Mark’s life.
In 1981 Mark co-founded the Peace Museum and was its director for four years. Shows that he helped create included Unforgettable Fire, presenting the impact of the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He also helped create “Give Peace a Chance” featuring the songs of folk and rock musicians.
Mark worked for a dozen years or more at La Rabida Children’s Hospital on the south side of Chicago, adding murals and other stimulating play spaces for children at the institution hospitalized for many months. He was also an avid carpenter and built sturdy office furniture. In 1997 Mark helped organize a nationwide movement to celebrate the centennial of actor, singer, and activist, Paul Robeson and co-authored, Paul Robeson: Rediscovered.
Most recently Mark Rogovin served as the head of the Rogovin Collection with a mission to promote the educational use of the documentary photography of his father, Milton Rogovin. Mark produced films on his father's photography, Picture Man and Be Filled with the Spirit.
A social activist and citizen historian throughout his life, Mark honored labor history in Illinois and throughout the world through his life of service as a caretaker to the Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Forest Home Cemetery (on the register of National Historic places). He was also active with the Illinois Labor History Society and co-authored the publication, The Day Will Come.
Mark worked throughout his life on key campaigns and movements: the Committee to Save Lives in Chile, against apartheid in South Africa and for the Freedom of Nelson Mandela. He was especially devoted to freeing political prisoners, especially academic, author and activist Angela Davis. He loved working on political campaigns and was especially proud to help elect Harold Washington for Mayor in Chicago. He could always be counted on to produce political buttons or banners for any progressive movement or campaign, large or small.
He loved Forest Park loved the natural world and the people whom he encountered everywhere who brought joy and creativity to his life. Mark has a large “family” in this respect as well, whom he loved and nurtured.
He was a dedicated and loving husband to Michelle, loving brother to Paula Rogovin and Ellen Rogovin Hart, and a dedicated uncle to Malaika (Ewan), Aliya, David, Steven (Raquel) and Eric (Robyn). He cared deeply for his grandnieces and nephews Makayla, Hoshea, Yacob, Benjamin, Elijah, Nahla, and Madison.
In place of flowers, the family requests charitable donations to two causes if you are able:
• Institute on Higher Awesome Studies, at awesomestudies.org to support Awesome Foundation grants for a new chapter focusing on art and art education – both of which were important parts of Mark's life (Michelle is on the board). Small grants will be awarded funds raised across the US, and this chapter will continue to promote art and public art projects.
• Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute at the Feinberg School of Medicine – to support pilot studies into neurodegenerative diseases and advance new directions in frontotemporal dementia research in particular. By mail: c/o Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 420 E. Superior Street, 9th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611 or feinberg.northwestern.edu/giving. If friends and family wish to make a credit card donation by phone, they may do so by calling 312-503-8933, and reference the name of the deceased whom they are honoring.
Anyone can remember Mark by taking time to help their fellow neighbor. Donate food. Say hello and take a genuine interest in others. Volunteer to lend a hand before being asked. Feed the birds. Plant a garden. Share what you have with someone who has less. Get involved in your community to make the world a better place. Make sure those you love know you love them, and be a part of their lives. If you’ve done this, you’ve remembered him well.


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